The Negro Mother Poem Analysis

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Published in 1931 in a collection of poetry titled The Negro Mother and Other Dramatic Recitations, The Negro Mother is a lyrical poem in which an African American woman tells her children about the hardships she endured as a slave and as an African American. She uses her struggles which represent the collective experiences of African Americans to remind her children of their ancestor’s journey to freedom, and using these experiences, she encourages her children to fight for their rights and to fight for equality in their society. Hughes strengthens African American heritage and unifies his people through their history and experiences through imagery and diction.
From the first lines of the poem, “Children, I come back today / To tell you a story of the long dark way / That
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In the beginning of the poem, Hughes uses words such as “dark”, “night”, “labored as a slave”, “beaten and mistreated” and “denied” to express the oppression and racism that his nation was subjugated to. Through the voice of his created persona of a mother, Hughes draws the reader’s attention to African American heritage and history of slavery. The persona speaks of the abuse she endured as a slave. The visual imagery of laboring in the fields for the plantation owners who gave her nothing in return, “Beaten and mistreated for the work that I gave’’, stripped her of her dignity and family “Children sold away from me, husband sold, too.
No safety, no love, no respect I was due.”, highlights the damage done to their nation and their strength, since they survived the hardships. The anaphora in “No safety, no love, no respect I was due.” and the imagery unites African Americans, connecting them through their history and suffering and drawing attention to the rights they should continue fighting
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